So it’s looking like Metro GM Catoe is backing off the planned SmartBenefits changes that WMATA originally announced last month. Apparently WMATA’s had a lot of questions tossed at them about the changes and how highly screwed up it is. During his noontime chat today, the following question and answer popped up:
Arlington, VA: Good afternoon – I have a question regarding the upcoming changes to SmartBenefits. Do we know yet what will happen to the current balances on our SmarTrip cards? For instance, if I have a $100 balance on the card beginning Jan 1, what “purse” will that money go into? Thank you!
Reply: Hi Arlington. I see a few questions about SmartBenefits here in the queue. Over the past couple of weeks, we have heard a lot of comments from customers about this change in SmartBenefits. I’ve decided that we need to rethink the changes that we are making. At this point I do not have any new details to share. I hope to be able to provide more detail about the program in the coming weeks that will be able to clarify these sorts of questions. Rest assured, I have heard what people have to say and your comments will be taken into account as we develop the plan moving forward. (emphasis mine)
Last I knew, WMATA, employers need to have employee commitments for SmartBenefits by December 10 at the latest in order to apply the changes for January’s deductions. Some contacts I have in the Golden Triangle have indicated they’ll be dropping the program due to the inability of Metro to answer their questions regarding the “sendback” funds. So Mr. Catoe, WHEN are you going to make this decision?
In this instance, time really is money.